skip to main content









Donation Heart Ribbon

Study Shows Drop In San Diego Trolley Trips

— Volatile gas prices boosted public transit ridership in most of the country last year, but not in San Diego.

Aired 3/12/13 on KPBS News.

Volatile gas prices have boosted public transit ridership in most of the country. But not in San Diego, where trolley trips were down nearly 5 percent last year.

A national study has shown that trolley trips in the San Diego area fell 4.71...
Enlarge this image

Above: A national study has shown that trolley trips in the San Diego area fell 4.71 percent in 2012, compared to 2011.

A nearly 5 percent drop in trolley ridership in San Diego drove a slight decrease in overall transit ridership, according to a study by the American Public Transportation Association.

That same study found public transit trips in the U.S. increased by 1.5 percent in 2012. Many rail and bus services showed double-digit increases that year compared to 2011.

Ridership for the Metropolitan Transit System, or MTS, which serves San Diego, was down 0.22 percent. Trolley trips, meanwhile, fell by 4.71 percent.

Rob Schupp, a spokesman for the MTS, said one reason for this has been construction aimed at improving light-rail service.

"We've had a lot of construction impacts," said Schupp. "We've actually shut down the blue line on weekends. So those have an impact on our ridership numbers."

Schupp added that the MTS's trolley rider estimates, which formed the basis for the 2012 numbers, are also not the best method for counting trips.

"We now have automated passengers counters on board our trollies," he said, "so we're changing that methodology to a system that we think might be more accurate and reflect a truer ridership for the trolley."

The American Public Transportation Association ridership numbers for the North County Transit District, serving north San Diego County, were more reflective of national trends. Overall transit use for the NCTD went up 3.13 percent.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.


Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | March 11, 2013 at 9:41 p.m. ― 4 years ago

Build a line connecting downown with Balboa Park and Hillcrest/North Park and I would ride it all the time.

The reason ridership is low is because the route network is a fragmented joke. You can go to the border or East County, yet you can't go up the hill to Uptown.

For the few who didn't already think SANDAG is run by idiots, this statistic should prove it.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'Erip'

Erip | March 11, 2013 at 10:38 p.m. ― 4 years ago

Yes, other than stops downtown, the trolley barely connects to anything. I feel like it completely sidesteps the neighborhoods with the population most likely to use it, i.e The uptown district neighborhoods.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'dchoff'

dchoff | March 12, 2013 at 8:37 a.m. ― 4 years ago

With the exception of the line through Mission Valley to SDSU and the street route through downtown, the rest of the trolley route was built along existing rail lines.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | March 12, 2013 at 8:51 a.m. ― 4 years ago

Have you been on the trolley? It's full of psychotic, filthy, drug using homeless people that scream and yell and scare anyone in the same car as them.

( | suggest removal )